Yogi’s on a detox…

Live in rooms full of light

Avoid heavy food

Be moderate in the drinking of wine

Take massage, baths, exercise, and gymnastics

Fight insomnia with gentle rocking or the sound of running water

Change surroundings and take long journeys

Strictly avoid frightening ideas

Indulge in cheerful conversations and amusements

Listen to music.

Aulus Cornelius Celsus (pg. 129 Hormone Diet book)

Yep, I’m on a detox and it’s currently day 9. I’ve already made it over a week!  A whole 8.5 days… But not without issues.

Because of some health concerns I’ve mentioned previously, I decided to visit a new Naturopath and start the Hormone Diet detox in an effort to find some answers.  I was given my guidelines, some recipes, and a number of supplements to carry me through the program.  I was hesitant before starting and I’m still not all that excited about this detox.  You see, I don’t like restricting food.  I like to eat what I want within reason.  Remember, I am gluten and lactose intolerant, so my diet isn’t exactly over-indulgent.  I eat pretty clean all year round except for a few holidays and treat days (the poutine is a weakness haha), hence the frustration with this in the first place.  I know, I know, this is good for my health… but I really miss my gluten free flax crackers and decaf coffee.  Funny things to miss, right? ; )

Here are some observations I’ve made along these past 8.5 days:

~ Even if you eat pretty clean, you will still have mood swings while detoxing

~ Watching the Food Network or going on Pinterest during your detox is a a bad, bad idea

~ Going for runs during the first few days probably isn’t the best idea due to changes in energy and mood

~ Doing a detox while searching for employment in a new city adds to challenges

~ Sitting in a coffee shop with your tea when you really want a decaf coffee isn’t the greatest idea, the smell gets to you

~ You almost really can’t go out to eat anywhere

I know I’m making it sound all bad right now, but I know there are benefits to detoxing as well:

~ Cleaning up that liver, giving it a little break

~ Cleanse the system, improved digestion

~ Increased energy and concentration

~ Natural weight loss due to avoiding sugary, fatty foods

~ Clearer skin and more…

Now, here’s the funny part – I haven’t really noticed many of these benefits yet.  I’ve noticed improved digestion, but that is about it.  Energy at the beginning of the detox was low, but now has levelled out.  Skin the same and no weight loss at all.  Like, c’mon!  I really wanted to reap some benefits for doing this detox for 2 weeks, but so far nothing too drastic.  I partially attribute this to the fact that my diet is already pretty clean – all I’ve really taken out are starches (brown rice, gluten free pasta, yams), wine, and decaf coffee.  Either way, I am keeping positive and finishing the program – 4.5 more days!  At the end I am supposed to re-introduce one inflammatory food back per day to see how I react.  I might try this with a few things, but I am already aware of the gluten and dairy issues so I will just continue keeping those out of my diet.  One thing I will be having at the end is a good night at a sushi restaurant, damn I miss those little rolls.

This has been an interesting experience in meal planning and I’ve learned new smoothie recipes, so it’s not all bad. One of my favourite smoothie recipes for fall is this one on the Lululemon Community Blog, so so  good.  I just have to remind myself to not look for the external changes and realize that the internal benefits from this detox are most important.  My body has needed a break in general from stress and that can include food stress as well.  Here’s hoping this helps and gives me a clean slate to start with as my health concerns are being investigated.  It’s time to get better from here!  ~ I am happy and healthy ~ ॐ

Have you detoxed before?  What are your tips?

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Healthy changes update…

The Dalai Lama was asked what surprised him most.
He said: “Man.  Because he sacrifices his health in order to make money.
Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health.

(From Your Life Your Way‘s awesome Tuesday inspirations)

Here we are… over a month later and I have not provided an update on my Healthy Changes post!  I know you are sitting on the edge of your seat readers! ; )

Over the past 2 months I have been seeing a Naturopathic Doctor and getting some tests done, so that I can figure out what’s going on and get myself back to optimal performance.  So far, things are going well but as you also know, these things take time.  I am trying to be patient here, I really am… but, there are some days…

Anyway, most people around me were wondering how the reduction in caffeine and the 3 weeks without any alcohol went.  Well, not as great as I had hoped, but I’m also trying not to beat myself up about it.  I did cheat one day with wine, but I added an extra day on to the end of the three weeks so I would say that was pretty successful.  I won’t lie, there were days I was tempted by a delicious glass of wine, but I stuck to my guns… except for that one day (it was a friend’s going away party, what was I supposed to do?!).  In regards to the caffeine, I have only been able to get myself down to half-caffeinated coffees.  So far, it seems that full decaf on weekdays is not as easy, but on the weekends it’s no problem.  This is interesting to me, but I guess my body likes the little boost in the morning on Monday – Friday to get me moving and answering those emails.  I’m trying not to be upset about it, so I am drinking half-caf coffees during the week.  I just really like that warm, delicious beverage in the morning… it’s like a ritual and personally, I don’t think one cup of half-caf a day is all that bad (for me anyway).

In the end, it’s all about balance and taking care of yourself.  Have things in moderation and always ask questions if you are unsure about something.  Seek the help of a doctor or natural practitioner, so that you can learn more about your body and how to keep it functioning optimally.  When I first read the quote above a few years ago, it really hit home.  Most likely, we all have someone in our lives that comes to mind when reading that quote.  We really need to take care of ourselves as best we can all the time, so as not to find ourselves in the predicament mentioned above.  Love yourself, take care of yourself, and be well.  ॐ

Healthy changes…

At Lake Minniwanka (courtesy of Roger M.)

Continuing with my steps of getting back to the basics and feeling like myself again, I went to see a Naturopathic Doctor this past Friday. I used to see one back in 2009-2010, but haven’t been back since for a couple different reasons. I found the previous help that I received, and all that I learned about myself, was very helpful so I knew I wanted to give this type of therapy another try.

I won’t lie, even though I have been before, I was a little nervous before my appointment. I’m quite set in my ways, so when the practitioner suggests major diet/health changes I get a little edgy – who doesn’t? This time around though, the visit was different than before. It turns out that I have kept a lot of the behaviours I learned before and am doing quite well in the nutrition and exercise department. She even mentioned that I seemed very conscious about my diet when she read my food diary – score one for Crystal! There is a dark side though… I must reduce my coffee to decaf over the next week or two while we are working on treatment. Egad, what do you mean? I eat healthy and pretty clean, I keep active, and you say I have to reduce my one daily treat?! Oh boy, here we go. Now, I only drink one coffee a day (about a tall to grande size), but apparently while we’re doing testing and meeting, I need to switch to decaf as a compromise. Ok, ok… I can do this. Right?

You may not think this is a big deal… You may be thinking “yogis shouldn’t drink coffee anyway” and I hear you. But I really don’t have any vices, so I drink my one coffee a day. The other side of this is that I recently chose on my own a week ago to not have any alcohol for the last three weeks in April. Also not a big deal to most people, and I don’t exactly consume that much, but it is known that I do like to enjoy a nice glass of wine or two on the weekend. It’s no secret that I love wine and trying new wines, etc. so not having a nice delicious sip for three weeks is both daunting and rewarding. My body needs a little cleanse and this is a good time to do it, so why not?

I’m both excited and nervous about this new adventure with a Naturopath. So far, I need to do some more tests before anything is decided about new supplements or major diet changes. Due to my diet being pretty clean, I am curious as to what is going on in my body and how I can get back to optimal performance. I’ve already learned that I am both lactose and gluten intolerant, so I do my best to keep those to an absolute minimum but have the occasional treat (hello poutine!). I did find out that my vitamin D is extremely low, which makes since when I have talked about Seasonal Affective Disorder before. Increasing the vitamin D drops right now, because spring is pretty far off where I live. I need some sun, but this will have to do. I’m hoping it helps as I really do notice when my S.A.D. kicks in to full gear.

None of this till May.. Awww.

So you get to watch me readers, over the next few weeks, reduce my caffeine to decaf coffee and no alcohol until May 1, while increasing my vitamin D in an attempt to get the levels back to normal. This may not seem like much, but it’s a start and I know it’s necessary for the testing and help that I’m going to get with this Naturopath. The Naturopath didn’t even tell me that I had to give up my glasses of wine, so it’s an added bonus. At least that’s what I think. 😉  ॐ

Have you ever seen a Naturopath? Did you feel you got the help that you needed?

And the winner is…

Here it is folks – the moment you’ve been waiting for!!

*Drumroll please*

And the winner is…

….

…..

Erin (@sexyinyyc) from Calgary!!!  Congrats Erin and thank you to all who entered on the blog, tweeted, and facebooked!  I had so much fun with this giveaway and really enjoyed all the responses I received.  There’s some great tips in the comments on how to wind down before bed – herbal tea and a good book being my favourite.

For my readers in Calgary, and even Alberta, if you get a chance you should definitely check out the Essentia store.  It’s a great space and they have some great plans for growing their name in the community.  Oh, and they have the best pillows I’ve ever put my head down on. : )

Hope you enjoy the Organic Sheets Erin!

It’s a cozy giveaway!

* This giveaway is now closed. Thank you to all who entered, the winner will be contacted on March 30th *

How do you like to wind down at the end of a day?  Do you like to cozy up in bed with a great book?  Or snuggle in bed with your pets?

One of my favourite things to do after a long day is cuddle up in my bed with some warm blankets and a great book to wind down.  Nothing like that awesome feeling of crawling into bed, the comfy smooth sheets ready to warm your tired body.  Ahhhh relaxtion.

That’s why I am so excited for this to be my first blog giveaway!  Right away, I thought this was a great idea because it aligns with one of my favourite things to do when needing to relax (besides restorative yoga!) and my love for the local community.  This lovely prize has been offered up by a new store opening in the Calgary area on March 23rd, which you should definitely check out soon.  Essentia has been around for over 5 years with locations in New York, Toronto, Vancouver, and more and is moving into Calgary this week.  The exciting part is that they offer the world’s only natural memory foam mattresses, as well as other organic products to help you sleep better – such as these Organic Sheets!

Essentia Organic Sheets

It’s important to treat yourself, or a loved one, every now and then.  Why not enter to win these beautiful Organic Sheets to make your bed that much more comfy when you crawl into it after a hard days work or a great yoga class!

To enter:

– In a sentence or two (in the comments), tell us how you like to take care of yourself and wind down at night?

– “Like” Essentia on Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/myessentia

– Extra entries for posting this giveaway on Twitter or Facebook!  Feel free to share this message:

Let’s get comfy! Win a fabulous set of Organic Sheets from @Essentia #YYC and @YogiCrystal! http://wp.me/pIR1v-cb #cozygiveaway

(Let us know which one’s you did in the comments, so we can count all your entries! Good luck!)

* Contest closes 11:59 pm MST on March 29, 2012.  Winner will be chosen at random on the morning of March 30, 2012 so please include your email address.  (Contest open to residents of Canada (except Nunavut and Yukon) and Continental U.S.A.)

Stampede’s over, now what?

Now that another Calgary Stampede has come and gone, I ask how are you feeling readers?  I bet you are thinking why am I asking this?  I have posed this question to you because I’m not feeling so hot this week, so I am wondering ‘how you doin’ Calgary.

I admit it, I overindulged a little on my visits to the Stampede grounds last week (even though I know better!).  One of my excuses when I was there was: “it’s only once a year right?” – does this sound familiar?  ‘Cus chances are, we don’t do this “only once a year”!  Don’t tell me YOU hold back during the Christmas holidays (where’s my 3rd helping of turkey stuffing with gravy?!).

So, the best thing to do right now is not to feel ashamed or defeated.  Everyone indulges a little bit, don’t hang your head, it’s time to jump right back up and get on track again!  If you’re feeling kind of down, you don’t need to take huge steps to get things back on track – little steps, that aren’t daunting, will be more important for success.

Since Stampede is over, you’ve probably done the first step – less corn dogs, mini-donuts, and fries in your diet!  Yay!  I don’t know about you, but I am glad for this!  I can try to tell myself that mini-donuts are good for me, but it’ll never make it true!

So, the next step might be to incorporate some healthy food items back into your diet.  You can try my Yummy Quinoa Salad recipe one evening or switch to some yummy green leafy salads for lunch.  Getting some greens back into your diet is going to help you start to feel amazing (especially if you switch your pizza for salads at lunch – this will help to wipe away the afternoon dulldrums).  Another delicious lunch recipe, from a Holistic Nutritionist, can be found here.  Or check out a couple recipes from another Holistic Nutritionist here, yum!

Now that you’re probably not two-stepping as much anymore (lol), you need to find a way to get a little exercise back into your weekly routine.  Ideally, you should be doing 30-60 minutes of activity per day, but if this isn’t feasible right now, we can start a little smaller.

You know that I’m going to say that you should try yoga ASAP!  Yoga is an activity that is accessible to everyone – all shapes, sizes, and ranges of flexibility!  Yes, it’s true!  Definitely try a beginner’s class at your local studio – this will help you learn all of the postures in a supportive environment.  It’s especially helpful to have the teacher there to guide you in proper positioning to reduce any chances of injury.
Now if you’re a little shy, I think you should still try a studio class :), but you can also do some yoga at home first.  There are many great books and videos out there to help you get started.  Just a few suggestions:

DVD – Patricia Walden’s Yoga For Beginners
Online – myyogaonline.com – online resource with information and videos
Book – Yoga: The Path to Holistic Health by B.K.S. Iyengar

But, I still believe it will be beneficial for you to get the studio experience when you can – there are many great teachers to learn from out there, so definitely give it a try!

Of course, there are other fitness options besides yoga – maybe try a fitness class once or twice a week at your local gym.  You don’t have to start big if the time commitment feels daunting – I’d rather you start small and succeed in the long run.  I also enjoy aquatic fitness – low impact, great crowd, and fun workout – what more could you ask for?!  Many local gyms or city gyms have this option – if you are in Calgary check this site out for more information.

I feel that a few small changes such as these are a great way to get started back on track and put the Stampede indulgences behind you.  So, here’s to getting ourselves feeling better, re-energized, AND no more corn dogs (at least till next year, right?! LOL).  ॐ